The 1,000 Greatest Films (900-801)

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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

1962 / UK / 103m / BW / Psychological Drama, Sports Drama
Tom Courtenay, James Bolam, Avis Bunnage, Michael Redgrave, Alec McCowen, Joe Robinson, Topsy Jane, Julia Foster, James Fox, John Thaw
"As with its French equivalents, much of the British New Wave looks horribly dated in a modern context: all that light jazz, casual romantic disaffection and overeager jump-cutting doesn’t really wash with contemporary audiences. But what’s beyond criticism is the commitment to emotional veracity which fuelled films like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner… The film is anchored in Tom Courtenay’s remarkable, remorseless performance as the eponymous runner Colin, torn between selfishness and sacrifice, class loyalty and commercial gain, impossible victory and inevitable surrender." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Chus Gutiérrez, Krzysztof Kieslowski, David Roland, Paolo D'Agostini, Jerry Schatzberg.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951 / USA / 92m / BW / Science Fiction, Alien Invasion Film
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, Drew Pearson, Frank Conroy, Fay Roope
"The quintessential alien visitation tale of its era, The Day the Earth Stood Still was mythically embedded in the minds of the pre-Spielberg generation that first saw it in childhood; viewed now, its influence on subsequent genre variations is as difficult to overstate as its number of ludicrous imitators. If not the first science-fiction film made by a Hollywood studio for adults, it marked a leap past bug-eyed-monster serial juvenilia and attempted to defuse Cold War paranoia via anti-authoritarian wit and somber reckoning with Atomic Age danger. It's a thinking kid's movie, yet its crafty fun stays in balance with its self-consciousness as a prestige message picture." - Bill Weber, Slant Magazine
Selected by Joe Dante, John Baldessari, Ben Zipper, Juan Jose Plans, Frederic Gimello.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Ride the High Country

Ride the High Country

1962 / USA / 94m / Col / Western, Revisionist Western
Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Ronald Starr, Mariette Hartley, R.G. Armstrong, James Drury, Edgar Buchanan, L.Q. Jones, Warren Oates, John Anderson
"Peckinpah's superb second film, a nostalgic lament for the West in its declining years… Affectionately funny as Scott and McCrea, once more hired and temporarily in harness, creak rheumatically while climbing off their horses, turn aside from the trail to bathe aching feet, and sport long woolly combinations for bed. But also achieving an almost biblical grandeur as the two oldtime lawmen, fallen upon hard times and suddenly realising that the world has left them behind, contrive not to fall from grace and self-respect when a tempting gold shipment comes between them. Truly magnificent camerawork from Lucien Ballard." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Alexander Payne, Shinozaki Makoto, David Edelstein, Edward Buscombe, Philip Kemp.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

2000 / USA / 288m / Col / Biography, Documentary
Jonas Mekas, Oona Mekas
"As I Was Moving Ahead focuses on the domestic world of the Mekas family proper, shot on jittery, mellow 16mm color-reversal stock during the last three decades of the 20th century… As I Was Moving Ahead serves not just as a meditation on the nature of cinema, beauty, and time, but also as a monument to the bonds of family and friends. Mekas's diaries have always quivered with the tensions between past and present. This one, created by an artist soon to enter his eighth decade, finds a secret paradise in the rich harvests of a lifetime's memories." - Ed Halter, The Village Voice
Selected by Eduardo Coutinho, Flavia de la Fuente, Javier Packer-Comyn, Matías Piñeiro, Radu Jude.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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The 47 Ronin

The 47 Ronin

The Loyal 47 Ronin (alternative title); Genroku Chûshingura (original title)

1941 / Japan / 219m / BW / Historical Film, Samurai Film
Utaemon Ichikawa, Isamu Kosugi, Mieko Takamine, Yoshizaburo Arashi, Chojuro Kawarasaki, Kunitaro Kawarasaki, Seizaburo Kawazu, Mintayo Mimasu, Mitsuko Miura, Kanemon Nakamura
"Made during the work-up to war, Mizoguchi's retelling of the traditional tale of the four dozen loyal feudal samurai who, in 1700, avenged the clan lord Asano's death is concerned with the place and meaning of the Bushido warrior code, which was in decline after 70 years of peace. An immense popular success, the film was approved by the propaganda authority and at near four hours may strain viewers not unduly interested in military ethics. Lovers of Mizoguchi, however, will marvel at the technical accomplishment, the elegance of compositional line and camera movement, and note the relegation of battle to reported speech and the concentration on human drama." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Fred Camper, Kaushik Bhaumik, Santos Zunzunegui, Gilberto Perez, Christoph Huber.
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Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur

Happiness (English title)

1965 / France / 79m / Col / Romance, Marriage Drama
Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Marie-France Boyer, Marcelle Faure Bertin, Manon Lanclos, Sylvie Saurel, Marc Eyraud, Christian Riehl
"A beautiful and disturbing 1965 feature by Agnes Varda about family happiness, full of lingering and creepy ambiguities. A happily married carpenter (Jean-Claude Drouot) with a beautiful wife (Claire Drouot) and two small children (Sandrine and Oliver Drouot) falls in love with a beautiful postal clerk (Boyer), who becomes his mistress… Provocative and lovely to look at, this is one of Varda's best and most interesting features." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Annette Melville, Chantal Akerman, Kim Young-jin, Mai Ruoyu, Agnieszka Holland.
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Near Dark

Near Dark

1987 / USA / 95m / Col / Horror, Hybrid Western
Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Joshua Miller, Tim Thomerson, Marcie Leeds, Kenny Call, Ed Corbett
"Bigelow's track record as a director is spotty, but in 1987 she directed the flat-out classic Near Dark, an enormously influential vampire Western… Vampires have generally symbolized a distinctly European strain of upscale decadence, and Near Dark's key innovation was in stripping the genre of its gothic signifiers and replacing them with unmistakably American ones… Near Dark's vampire-Western fusion has been co-opted by movies like From Dusk Till Dawn and John Carpenter's Vampires, but Bigelow's film has lost none of its freshness or vitality. It's the most quintessentially American vampire movie ever made." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Danny Boyle, Christine Dollhofer, Christian Petzold, Andy Medhurst, Pam Cook.
L'Enfance nue

L'Enfance nue

Naked Childhood (English title)

1968 / France / 80m / Col / Childhood Drama, Coming-of-Age
Michel Terrazon, Marie-Louise Thierry, Rene Thierry, Raoul Billerey, Maurice Coussonneau, Pierrette Deplanque, Linda Gutemberg, Marie Marc, Henri Puff
"The singular French director Maurice Pialat puts his distinctive stamp on the lost-youth film with this devastating portrait of a damaged foster child. We watch as ten-year-old François (Terrazon) is shuttled from one home to another, his behavior growing increasingly erratic, his bonds with his surrogate parents perennially fraught. In this, his feature debut, Pialat treats that potentially sentimental scenario with astonishing sobriety and stark realism. With its full-throttle mixture of emotionality and clear-eyed skepticism, L’enfance nue was advance notice of one of the most masterful careers in French cinema, and remains one of Pialat’s finest works." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Valeska Grisebach, Girish Shambu, Mimi Brody, Cedric Kahn, Pascal Merigeau.
To Live

To Live

Huozhe (original title)

1994 / China-Hong Kong / 145m / Col / Family Drama, Political Drama
Ge You, Gong Li, Niu Ben, Guo Tao, Jiang Wu, Ni Dahong, Liu Tianchi, Zhang Lu, Xiao Cong, Dong Fei
"Zhang Yimou's masterful, stirring To Live takes us from the turbulent, treacherous China of the '40s civil war to the brutal Cultural Revolution and beyond through the lives of one couple, who in the course of hardship and tragedy emerge as symbolic of the ordinary Chinese and their capacity to endure and to hope for a better future. Based on Yu Hua's Lifetimes, the superb To Live is fortunately more absorbing than grueling--and it is indeed the latter. It possesses both vast scope and intimacy, humor and sorrow, complex characterizations, richness of incident and an awareness of the quixotic role fate plays in all our destinies." - Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Selected by Todd Gilchrist, Wayne Wang, Leste Chen, Drewry Jones, Diego Galán.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

1956 / USA / 220m / Col / Religious Epic, Hagiography
Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, John Derek, Vincent Price, Cedric Hardwicke, Debra Paget, H.B. Warner
"With a running time of nearly four hours, Cecil B. De Mille's last feature and most extravagant blockbuster is full of the absurdities and vulgarities one expects, but it isn't boring for a minute. Although it's inferior in some respects to De Mille's 1923 picture of the same title and some of the special effects look less plausible now than they did in 1956, the color is ravishing, and De Mille's form of showmanship, which includes a personal introduction and his own narration, never falters. Simultaneously ludicrous and splendid, this is an epic driven by the sort of personal conviction one almost never finds in more recent Hollywood monoliths." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by José Luis Garci, Jaime Chávarri, Mark Adnum, Camille Paglia, Laurie Anderson.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Floating Weeds

Floating Weeds

Ukikusa (original title)

1959 / Japan / 119m / Col / Drama, Reunion Film
Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Kyo, Ayako Wakao, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Haruko Sugimura, Hikaru Hoshi, Yosuke Irie, Koji Mitsui, Hitomi Nozoe, Chishu Ryu
"Subtle, lyrical, and delicately bittersweet, Floating Weeds offers an excellent introduction to the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu—one of the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers… From the first shot, comically juxtaposing a lighthouse (background) with a sake bottle (foreground), to the last one of a train swiftly moving over a nighttime landscape, it’s plain we’re in the hands of a filmmaker whose prime concern is understatement and overtone. Rather than rush to the heat of a “big” dramatic moment, Ozu concentrates on the warmth of “small” ones. In scene after scene the way the characters walk, sit, stand, and speak is scrupulously observed." - David Ehrenstein, The Criterion Collection
Selected by José Luis Guerín, Duane Hopkins, Paulino Viota, James Mangold, Yung Chang.
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The Reckless Moment

The Reckless Moment

1949 / USA / 82m / BW / Crime Drama, Film Noir
James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, Henry O'Neill, Shepperd Strudwick, David Blair, Roy Roberts, Jessie Arnold, Jack Baker, Pat Barton
"Just as some critics favor Lang's midcentury American noirs over his famous German silent masterpieces, I prefer Ophuls' moment-in-the-sun Hollywood output, particularly his twin femme-noir home-runs of 1949, Caught and The Reckless Moment. The latter of the two may be, in fact, one of its decade's greatest forgotten movies, a stock melodramatic programmer (adapted from a Ladies Home Journal story, yet) that is reconceived and crafted with such deftness and attention to emotional detail that it shutters scores of contemporaneous noirs and dramas out of the memory." - Michael Atkinson, TCM
Selected by Keith Uhlich, Todd Haynes, Robin Wood, Scott McGehee, David Siegel.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Love and Death

Love and Death

1975 / USA / 82m / Col / Comedy, Parody/Spoof
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Olga Georges-Picot, Harold Gould, Jessica Harper, Alfred Lutter, James Tolkan, Georges Adet, Frank Adu, Edmond Ardisson
"Before Woody Allen made Annie Hall, the first in a long series of romantic comedies and/or personal dramas about neurotic New Yorkers (and, to a large degree, himself), he made a series of wildly funny absurdist comedies, of which Love and Death was probably the best. Dominated by knowing parodies of Russian literature with a dollop of Ingmar Bergman on the side, Love and Death is that rare satire that wears its smarts on its sleeve while still going for the belly laugh. While you have to be quite well-read to catch every literary reference, the movie still works if you don't get them." - Mark Deming, Allmovie
Selected by Sarah Polley, Mark Kermode, Adam Carolla, Jasmila Zbanic, Gilles Jacob.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (original title)

2003 / South Korea-Germany / 103m / Col / Psychological Drama, Religious Drama
Oh Young-Su, Kim Ki-Duk, Kim Young-Min, Seo Jae-Kyung, Ha Yeo-Jin, Kim Jong-Ho, Kim Jung-Young, Ji Dae-Han, Choi Min, Park Ji-A
"Rarely has a movie this simple moved me this deeply. I feel as if I could review it in a paragraph, or discuss it for hours. The South Korean film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring is Buddhist, but it is also universal. It takes place within and around a small house floating on a small raft on a small lake, and within that compass, it contains life, faith, growth, love, jealousy, hate, cruelty, mystery, redemption … and nature. Also a dog, a rooster, a cat, a bird, a snake, a turtle, a fish and a frog." - Roger Ebert, Roger
Selected by Angelina Nikonova, Anton Bitel, Gulnara Abikeyeva, Tiina Lokk, Uygar Şirin.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Too Early, Too Late

Too Early, Too Late

Trop tôt, trop tard (original title)

1981 / Germany / 100m / Col / Documentary
Bahgat Elnadi, Daniele Huillet, Gerard Samaan
"From France and Egypt comes one of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s most beautiful works… Huillet herself provides voiceover for the first segment, which consists mainly of panned rural landscapes… Tranquil Nature, sparsely populated and filmed with contemplative calm, is brightened by the sound of chirping birds until a redundancy of this cacophony, enjoined with text that dwells on human poverty and class inequality, pierces the idyllic impression. The second, longer segment shifts to Egypt. Now a male voice is the unseen reader; the text, a journalistic essay by Mahmoud Hussein referring to the revolt by peasants against British occupation and the subsequent 1952 Egyptian Revolution.” - Dennis Grunes
Selected by George Clark, Volker Pantenburg, Edwin Mak, John Gianvito, Nicole Brenez.
National Lampoon's Animal House

National Lampoon's Animal House

Animal House (alternative title)

1978 / USA / 109m / Col / Gross-Out Comedy, Anarchic Comedy
John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Tom Hulce, Cesare Danova, Peter Riegert, Donald Sutherland, Mary Louise Weller, Stephen Furst
"Animal House marked a new era in American comedy, bringing together the anarchic Ivy League sensibilities of the Harvard Lampoon and the freewheeling, sketch-driven style of Chicago's legendary Second City improv troupe. It was a match that would come to define and dominate the approach to modern comedy… As a cultural phenomenon, Animal House was one of the first big studio comedies aimed at the teen/college demographic and has the dubious distinction of spawning the toga party and making food fights seem like a venerable American institution… This is likely the only film in the National Film Registry to feature a character imitating a zit with a mouthful of mashed potatoes." - Rob Nixon, TCM
Selected by Bobby Farrelly, Michael Tolkin, Richard Curtis, David Fincher, David Wain.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Flying High (alternative title)

1980 / USA / 86m / Col / Anarchic Comedy, Parody/Spoof
Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen, Lorna Patterson, Stephen Stucker, Barbara Billingsley
"Before Airplane! came along in 1980, the anything-goes vaudeville aesthetic had more or less died off with the Marx Brothers, which might explain why much of a generation grew up thinking the disaster-movie spoof was the funniest ever made. Not the best comedy ever made, of course, but considered in bulk, nothing could really top the sheer quantity of laughs being offered, even when dozens of gags fell flat. It's impossible to overstate Airplane!'s influence on the genre, not just in the slew of gag-a-second knockoffs and Leslie Nielsen vehicles that followed, but also on the constant riffing now common to modern Disney animated features, or many of the films built around sketch comics from Saturday Night Live.” - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Peter Farrelly, Evan Mather, Scott Renshaw, Drake Stutesman, Gerard Krawczyk.
The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects

1995 / USA / 105m / Col / Crime, Thriller
Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Pete Postlethwaite, Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Pollak, Suzy Amis, Benicio Del Toro, Paul Bartel
"Writer Christopher McQuarrie's original notion was to make a film called The Usual Suspects, in which five criminals meet in a police line-up. He thought it would make a wonderful poster. The poster's O.K. The movie is sensational, a modern-day noir about petty crime, a mythic gangster, loyalty, going straight and double crosses. This movie has everything but Humphrey Bogart, and I'm sure he's sorry he was unavailable… Most of the time I hardly knew what was going on, but I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Singer is not a fancy director, or ostentatious or ornate. The beauty of The Usual Suspects is in its simplicity." - Barbara Shulgasser, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Lisa Mullen, Ferenc Zalaba, Philip Kemp, Jurgen Egger, Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Moi, un Noir

Moi, un Noir

I, a Negro (English title)

1958 / France / 70m / Col / Culture & Society, Anthropology
Amadou Demba, Karidyo Faoudou, Gambi, Oumarou Ganda, Seydou Guede, Alassane Maiga, Petit Toure
"Jean Rouch completed this quasi-documentary in 1958, and it still feels ahead of its time. Rather than make his own record of Treichville, a district in the Ivory Coast city Abidjan, Rouch recruited several local men and women to create scenes based on their lives. With this innovative working method, Rouch raises a question implicit in all nonfiction filmmaking: Who’s the genuine auteur, the director or the subjects? And yet the results don’t feel at all cerebral… Jean-Luc Godard praised this as a masterpiece upon first release, and it’s easy to see why; the film introduces aesthetic and even philosophical conceits that would be central to his own work as a director." - Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
Selected by Antonio Rodrigues, Elena Oroz, Manthia Diawara, Nicole Brenez, Raymond Depardon.
Big Deal on Madonna Street

Big Deal on Madonna Street

I Soliti ignoti (original title)

1958 / Italy / 91m / BW / Crime Comedy, Caper
Vittorio Gassman, Renato Salvatori, Marcello Mastroianni, Memmo Carotenuto, Rosanna Rory, Carla Gravina, Claudia Cardinale, Carlo Pisacane, Tiberio Murgia, Toto
"Mario Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street is that genuine rarity in popular culture: a satire that not only helped kill off one movie genre, but started a whole new subgenre in the process. The film, released in Italy in 1958 as I Soliti ignoti, was a veritable treasure trove of cinematic influences, from Italian neorealism to Hollywood postwar film noir and its 1950s French cousin, all tied together in one neat 90-minute package." - Bruce Eder, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Whit Stillman, Juan José Campanella, Eric Derobert, Fernando León de Aranoa, Orlando Lubbert.
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Duel in the Sun

Duel in the Sun

1946 / USA / 130m / Col / Western, Melodrama
Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Charles Bickford, Herbert Marshall, Harry Carey, Joan Tetzel
"A big, big western from producer David O. Selznick… Selznick enlisted King Vidor—one of the few directors with the logistical know-how to handle such a sprawling film—and tried to duplicate the success of his Gone With the Wind. What Selznick got instead was a screaming Freudian fantasy, full of the dark sexuality characteristic of Vidor's late career (Beyond the Forest, Ruby Gentry). Contemporary wits called it Lust in the Dust, and there's no doubt that it goes too far in almost every direction—but that touch of obsession is exactly what saves it." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by David Stratton, Javier Coma, Martin Scorsese, Fredric R. Jameson, Tino Pertierra.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Firemen's Ball

The Firemen's Ball

Horí, má panenko (original title); The Fireman's Ball (UK title)

1967 / Czechoslovakia / 73m / Col / Comedy, Satire
Jan Vostrcil, Josef Kolb, Josef Svet, Josef Sebanek, Josef Valnoha, Frantisek Debelka, Jan Stockl, Vratislav Cermak, Josef Rehorek, Vaclav Novotny
"A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s first color film The Firemen’s Ball is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire. A hilarious saga of good intentions confounded, the story chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right—from a beauty pageant whose reluctant participants embarrass the organizers to a lottery from which nearly all the prizes are pilfered. Presumed to be a commentary on the floundering Czech leadership, the film was “banned forever” in Czechoslovakia following the Russian invasion and prompted Forman’s move to America." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jirí Menzel, Pavel Jech, Ken Loach, Ivan Passer, Raoul Peck.
Bob le flambeur

Bob le flambeur

Bob the Gambler (English title)

1955 / France / 102m / BW / Crime, Gangster Film
Roger Duchesne, Isabel Corey, Daniel Cauchy, Guy Decomble, Andre Garet, Claude Cerval, Simone Paris, Howard Vernon, Gerard Buhr, Colette Fleury
"Melville’s fifth film, Bob le flambeur was his first foray into the stylized underworld which became his signature. And as is often the case, though Bob le flambeur doesn’t quite look like a New Wave film, it pointed the way for what followed it… Shot in crisp, gritty black and white by Henri Decaë, Bob le flambeur fuses the carefully perfect compositions of William Wyler with the rough immediacy of the New Wave. The result is an austerely honest artifice reminiscent of Melville’s hero, John Huston. The camera never calls attention to itself, but hand-held shots and natural lighting lend the image a fluidity and hard truth impossible to achieve in the studio." - Brian L. Frye, Senses of Cinema
Selected by Roger Michell, Mariano Llinás, Jim Jarmusch, David Meeker, Michael Addis.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet

1956 / USA / 98m / Col / Science Fiction, Space Adventure
Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, James Drury, George Wallace, Robert Dix
"By the time Forbidden Planet hit theaters in 1956, aliens, robots, and strange worlds had become commonplace, thanks to B-movies, pulps, and comic books. So how did it become the touchstone science-fiction film of its decade? It thought big. Here was outer space as only the lavish production values of MGM could imagine it, a journey to an alien landscape painted in bold Eastmancolor and stretched across a CinemaScope frame. But it also thought small. Forbidden Planet's characters travel to the far reaches of space to discover boundaries that remain in place no matter where you go. The mind may climb to the stars, but it's hard to shake the beast within." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Joe Dante, John A. Russo, William Malone, Gerard Langlois, John Carpenter.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Diaries, Notes and Sketches

Diaries, Notes and Sketches

Walden (alternative title)

1969 / USA / 177m / Col / Avant-garde/Experimental
Timothy Leary, Ed Emshwiller, Franz Fuenstler, Jack Smith, Mario Montez, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, Judith Malina, Storm De Hirsch
"Celebrating and singing the scene it records, Walden is four years (1964-68) seen through the corybantic 16mm Bolex of Jonas Mekas. The propulsive images, strung together in roughly the same order they were filmed, inaugurated Mekas's ongoing Diaries Notes and Sketches series, a project of autobiography through home movie—or, as he called them, "Just images for myself." The filmmaker-flaneur records dinners, weddings, hustles, and four full cycles of the seasons seen from the Brakhage compound in Colorado, the malevolent industrial badlands of North Jersey, and the lunch counters of slush-pit New York." - Nick Pinkerton, The Village Voice
Selected by Dāvis Sīmanis, Filipe Furtado, Thomas Beard, Eric Thouvenel, Amy Taubin.
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A Diary for Timothy

A Diary for Timothy

1945 / UK / 40m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Michael Redgrave, Myra Hess, John Gielgud, Frederick Allen, Bill, Elizabeth Jenkins, Elvin Jenkins, Timothy James Jenkins, Jennifer, Frank Phillips
"A Diary for Timothy is Jennings' most accomplished and arguably his greatest film. It's a poignant yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of the battle-weary home front in 1944-5 that, like so much of the director's work, casts a sensitive eye over the lives of ordinary people, while celebrating their dignity and determination… Forster's writing and Redgrave's narration are, at times, deliciously wry, yet the abiding undertone is so painfully raw and deeply sad that half a century on the conclusion, which poses the one question which in 1945 no one could hope to answer, is still capable of sending a shiver down the spine." - Jon Fortgang, Film4
Selected by Ian Christie, Patrick Russell, Tag Gallagher, Kevin Jackson, Lindsay Anderson.
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Pickup on South Street

1953 / USA / 80m / BW / Thriller, Film Noir
Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Murvyn Vye, Richard Kiley, Willis Bouchey, Milburn Stone, Henry Slate, Jerry O'Sullivan, Harry Carter
"Petty crook Skip McCoy (Widmark) has his eyes fixed on the big score. When the cocky three-time convict picks the pocketbook of unsuspecting Candy (Peters), he finds a haul bigger than he could have imagined… Tailed by manipulative Feds and the unwitting courier’s Communist puppeteers, Skip and Candy find themselves in a precarious gambit that pits greed against redemption, Right versus Red, and passion against self-preservation. With its dazzling cast and director Samuel Fuller’s signature raw energy and hardboiled repartee, Pickup on South Street is a true film noir classic by one of America’s most passionate cinematic craftsmen." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lee Daniels, Daniel Calparsoro, Peter Gidal, Dinko Tucakovic, J. Hoberman.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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La Nuit du carrefour

La Nuit du carrefour

Night at the Crossroads (English title)

1932 / France / 73m / BW / Police Detective Film, Crime Drama
Michael Duran, Georges Koudria, Jane Pierson, Pierre Renoir, Winna Winifried
"The screen's first Simenon adaptation, a wonderfully impenetrable mystery in which a series of murders and murder attempts gradually unravel a tale of star-crossed love and stolen diamonds, centring on a lonely crossroads, a sleazy garage, and a semi-derelict house harbouring an enigmatic, drug-stupefied femme fatale. Shot almost entirely on location and in direct sound, with most of the action taking place at night or in permanently shrouding mists, the whole film is seen and heard as through a glass, darkly… Weird, hallucinating and oddly poetic, it prefigures the treacherous perspectives of the later film noir." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Jean-Marie Straub, James Naremore, Cristina Fernandes, Martial Pisani, Gilbert Adair.
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The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

Ensayo de un crimen (original title)

1955 / Mexico / 91m / BW / Crime Comedy, Satire
Ernesto Alonso, Miroslava, Ariadna Welter, Rita Macedo, Rodolfo Landa, Andrea Palma, Carlos Riquelme, Leonor Llausas, Eva Calvo, Jose Maria Linares-Rivas
"Buñuel marshals all of his characteristic amoral wit in this tale of a would-be murderer frustrated at every turn in his efforts to get his kicks from a successful sex killing. As usual, the master eschews the visual fussiness of 'style', opting for the straightforward camera set-up at all times. The use of props like the toy music box from his childhood which triggers off Archibaldo's lust, and the wax dummy burned after one of his attempts is thwarted, is all the more stunning (and hilarious) as a result." - Rod McShane, Time Out
Selected by Paul Mayersberg, Steve Gravestock, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, José Luis Borau, Ángel Sala.
The Hawks and the Sparrows

The Hawks and the Sparrows

Uccellacci e uccellini (original title); Hawks and Sparrows (alternative title)

1966 / Italy / 91m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Toto, Ninetto Davoli, Femi Benussi, Umberto Bevilacqua, Renato Capogna, Alfredo Leggi, Renato Montalbano, Flaminia Siciliano, Lena Lin Solaro, Giovanni Tarallo
"One of the handful of films that found Pier Paolo Pasolini sustaining a merrier mode of cultural assault, Hawks and Sparrows features Italy’s popular comic actor Totò and Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli in a picaresque fable that lampoons politics, religion, and the legacy of neorealism... Featuring a score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, Pasolini’s anarchic comedy remains a time-capsule of the giddy tensions torqued by the dawn of the late Sixties." - The Masters of Cinema Series
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Antonio Rodrigues, Lola Hinojosa, Yvonne Rainer, Carlos Diegues.
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Louisiana Story

Louisiana Story

1948 / USA / 77m / BW / Culture & Society, Documentary
Joseph Boudreaux, Lionel Le Blanc, E. Bienvenu, Frank Hardy, C.P. Guedry, Oscar J. Yarborough
"Flaherty's last work, like his first, Nanook of the North, was the product of one of those fluke occasions when a sponsor (in this case, the Standard Oil Company) offers money with no strings attached. With no disciplining 'purpose', Flaherty's totally intuitive method was tested to its limits - and his editor Helen van Dongen has recorded the extraordinary convolutions of plot and readings that his material underwent en route to its ravishing conclusion. As an account of oil exploration, Flaherty's narrative may seem slightly naive; but his vision of a child's myth-world, and the oilmen's intrusion and acceptance into it, is perhaps his greatest achievement." - David Curtis, Time Out
Selected by José Manuel Costa, Patrick Russell, Michael Sicinski, Gilles Jacob, Raymond Depardon.
The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

1980 / USA / 130m / Col / Action Comedy, Rock Musical
John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Kathleen Freeman, James Brown, Henry Gibson, John Landis, Frank Oz, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Carrie Fisher
"Soul-stirring celebration or crass cultural exploitation? Truth is, The Blues Brothers is a bit of both, lending exposure to rhythm and blues legends who might otherwise have faded into silence while at the same time treating black culture as a colourful pantomime backdrop for the antics of two white comedians… Still, the film retains a huge nostalgic kick, thanks in large part to Aykroyd and Belushi’s easy rapport, a smattering of daft, shaggy humour and some truly iconic musical sequences." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Craig Brewer, Jon Favreau, Ruben Fleischer, Michael Addis, Serdar Akbiyik.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
3 Women

3 Women

Three Women (alternative spelling)

1977 / USA / 125m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier, Ruth Nelson, John Cromwell, Sierra Pecheur, Craig Richard Nelson, Maysie Hoy, Belita Moreno
"In a dusty, underpopulated California resort town, a naive southern waif, Pinky Rose (Spacek), idolizes and befriends her fellow nurse, the would-be sophisticate and “thoroughly modern” Millie Lammoreaux (Duvall). When Millie takes Pinky in as her roommate, Pinky’s hero worship evolves into something far stranger and more sinister than either could have anticipated. Featuring brilliant performances from Spacek and Duvall, this dreamlike masterpiece from Robert Altman careens from the humorous to the chilling to the surreal, resulting in one of the most unusual and compelling films of the 1970s." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Maura McHugh, Sean Durkin, John Greyson, Richard Combs.
The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938 / USA / 102m / Col / Swashbuckler, Romantic Adventure
Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Patric Knowles, Melville Cooper, Ian Hunter, Una O'Connor
"William Keighley and Michael Curtiz's rambunctious 1938 masterpiece—and Hollywood's definitive swashbuckler... In the most engaging performance of his career, Errol Flynn is jaunty, romantic, and larger than life, but also slyly funny as the Saxon knight who takes on the nasty Normans... Robin Hood is movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Joe Mantegna, Jerry Lewis, Robert Clampett, Lasse Bergstrom, Marjorie Bilbow.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Street of Shame

Street of Shame

Akasen chitai (original title)
1956 / Japan / 96m / BW / Melodrama, Urban Drama
Machiko Kyo, Aiko Mimasu, Ayako Wakao, Michiyo Kogure, Kumeko Urabe, Yasuko Kawakami, Hiroko Machida, Eitaro Shindo, Sadako Sawamura, Toranosuke Ogawa
"For his final film, Mizoguchi brought a lifetime of experience to bear on the heartbreaking tale of a brothel full of women whose dreams are constantly being shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them. Set in Tokyo’s Red Light District (the literal translation of the Japanese title), Street of Shame was so cutting, and its popularity so great, that when an antiprostitution law was passed in Japan just a few months after the film’s release, some said it was a catalyst." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Miguel Marias, Jean Douchet, Alain Ferrari, Jesús Cortés.
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1994 / Canada / 104m / Col / Psychological Drama, Ensemble Film
Don McKellar, Mia Kirshner, Arsinee Khanjian, Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Sarah Polley, Victor Garber, Calvin Green, David Hemblen, Peter Krantz
"A creative coup for the endlessly challenging writer/director Atom Egoyan, Exotica is a haunting, beautifully rendered tale of obsession and sexual frustration, following six disparate characters whose lives entwine in the most bizarre of ways. Employing overlapping and reverse chronology (a staple of Egoyan's storytelling), the picture builds slowly until its revelations become apparent, and the end result is a hypnotic and moving chronicle of broken lives and loss. The performances are all affecting and first-rate, and despite its key setting (a strip joint), the film is never obscene or concerned with rubbing the viewer's face in excess." - Jason Clark, All Movie
Selected by Emma Wilson, Mike D'Angelo, Ruth Barton, M.K. Raghavendra, Steve Erickson.
Simon of the Desert

Simon of the Desert

Simón del desierto (original title)

1965 / Mexico / 43m / BW / Satire, Religious Comedy
Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Hortensia Santovena, Luis Aceves Castaneda, Enrique Alvarez Felix, Antonio Bravo, Enrique del Castillo, Jesus Fernandez, Enrique Garcia Alvarez, Eduardo MacGregor
"Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Daniel V. Villamediana, Frances Morgan, Gonçalo Tocha, Haden Guest, Alejandro Díaz.


1948 / USA / 80m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, Douglas Dick, Edith Evanson, Dick Hogan, Alfred Hitchcock
"Rope isn't Hitchcock's best film, but it's one of his most audacious. With this movie, the master of suspense turns a nail-biting setpiece into a full-length feature, and shows us the ugly flipside of the violent thrillers that made his name. Murder in the movies is usually more about motive than consequence. The bad guys have it coming, and killers are much more interesting before they start repenting their crimes. But Rope rejects that formula by taking inspiration from a real-life murder, a particularly cold-hearted one, and rubbernecking on its aftermath." - Pamela Hutchinson, The Guardian
Selected by José Mojica Marins, Will Brooker, Michaela Boland, Peter Wollen, Malu De Martino.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby

2004 / USA / 137m / Col / Sports Drama, Melodrama
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brian F. O'Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome
"Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true. It tells the story of an aging fight trainer and a hillbilly girl who thinks she can be a boxer. It is narrated by a former boxer who is the trainer's best friend. But it's not a boxing movie. It is a movie about a boxer. What else it is, all it is, how deep it goes, what emotional power it contains, I cannot suggest in this review, because I will not spoil the experience of following this story into the deepest secrets of life and death." - Roger Ebert, Roger
Selected by Jeon Chanil, Luke Gibbons, Rogelio Llanos, Katja Nicodemus, Jerome Bimbenet.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.


From the East (English title); Vent d'est (alternative title)

1993 / Belgium-France-Portugal / 107m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
"Chantal Akerman’s haunting 1993 masterpiece documents without commentary or dialogue her several-months-long trip from east Germany to Moscow… Akerman’s painterly penchant for finding Edward Hopper wherever she goes has never been more obvious; this travelogue seemingly offers vistas any alert tourist could find yet delivers a series of images and sounds that are impossible to shake later… Everyone goes to movies in search of events, but the extraordinary events in Akerman’s sorrowful, intractable film are the shots themselves–the everyday recorded by a powerful artist with an acute eye and ear." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Gillian Wearing, Javier Packer-Comyn, Kieron Corless, Stuart Klawans, Ulrich Köhler.
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Two English Girls

Two English Girls

Les Deux anglaises et le continent (original title); Anne and Muriel (alternative title)

1971 / France / 108m / Col / Romantic Drama, Period Film
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Kika Markham, Stacey Tendeter, Sylvia Marriott, Marie Mansart, Philippe Leotard, Irene Tunc, Mark Peterson, Georges Delerue, Marie Irakane
"The importance of Two English Girls lies in its sheer vitality. The film is an extraordinary cinematic conjuring trick in which Truffaut draws the viewer both physically and visually into his own personal pleasures. He does this on a multitude of levels—if the pastoral scenes salute the work of Jean Renoir, then the washed pastel colors of Nestor Almendros’ Impressionist-influenced cinematography perfectly evoke Truffaut’s delight in the paintings of Renoir’s father, Auguste… Two English Girls sets itself apart by its sheer grace and palpable beauty." - Bruce Eder, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kent Jones, Carlos Losilla, Toni Junyent, Jonás Trueba, Todd McCarthy.
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Assault on Precinct 13

Assault on Precinct 13

1976 / USA / 90m / Col / Action Thriller, Police Drama
Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Tony Burton, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, Peter Bruni, John J. Fox, Kim Richards
"Because Assault on Precinct 13 is among one of the most remarkably composed films of all time, it's easy to look at Carpenter's rigorous framing techniques as their own acts of political resistance. The film's tight medium-shots position the characters in constant defiance of each other: blacks against whites, women against men, prisoners against officers… Despite the tragic but inevitable human losses, no one group comes out on top because only their capacity for kindness reigns supreme in Carpenter's democratic kingdom." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Darrell Roodt, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Mike D'Angelo, Rob Humanick, Daniel Monzón.
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News from Home

News from Home

1976 / France-Belgium-West Germany / 85m / Col / Avant-garde/Experimental, Urban Drama
Chantal Akerman
"Akerman explores the disjunction between European myths about New York - with its monumental cityscapes and cinematic glamour - and the reality, a place of hopeless ghettos and monotonous suburbs. In counterpoint to cinema-photographer Babette Mangolte's powerful images of the city, the soundtrack consists of banal letters from a petit bourgeois Belgian mother to her daughter in New York. A considerable contribution to the hinterland area between narrative cinema and the avant-garde." - Lynda Myles, Time Out
Selected by Ira Sachs, Richard Kwietniowski, Anna Petrus, Acquarello, Matthew Lehrer.
  • Empire


1964 / USA / 485m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental
Andy Warhol
"Empire, an eight-hour film of the Empire State Building shot from a fixed perspective from early evening into the night, is at once the most talked-about and the least seen of all of Andy Warhol's films. As in his other notoriously lengthy project Sleep, its duration turns seemingly insignificant events like the building's lights coming on into dramatic moments, but its importance lies not so much in its execution as in the tremendous audacity of the project itself. If, as has been argued, Warhol's Campbell's Soup can paintings and Brillo box sculptures transformed art-making from a physical into a philosophical act, then Empire could be said to do the same for filmmaking." - Tom Vick, All Movie
Selected by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Katsue Tomiyama, Amos Poe, Brian Dillon, Gillian Wearing.


1981 / USA / 200m / Col / Epic, Historical Film
Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinksi, Jack Nicholson, Paul Sorvino, Maureen Stapleton, Nicolas Coster, M. Emmet Walsh, Gene Hackman
"Warren Beatty's shapely 1981 epic, based on the life of radical journalist John Reed, is a stunningly successful application of a novelistic aesthetic—a film that makes full and thoughtful use of its three-and-a-half-hour length to develop characters, ideas, and motifs with a depth seldom seen in movies. Though it deals with historical events—World War I, the growth of the workers' movement in America, the Russian Revolution—history is not used simply as a backdrop; rather, Beatty focuses on the interdependence of personal choices and historical developments, mingling ideology and emotion in a very human whole." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Neil LaBute, Antonia Quirke, James Toback, Jack Lechner, Griffin Dunne.
Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

Il Fiore delle mille e una notte (original title)

1974 / Italy-France / 130m / Col / Adventure, Romantic Fantasy
Ninetto Davoli, Franco Citti, Tessa Bouche, Margaret Clementi, Ines Pellegrini, Franco Merli, Francelise Noel, Ali Abdulla, Christian Aligny, Jeanne Gauffin Mathieu
"Pier Paolo Pasolini traveled to Africa, Nepal, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a selection of stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin, though. Instead, the director focuses on the book’s more erotic tales, framed by the story of a young man’s quest to reconnect with his beloved slave girl. Full of lustrous sets and costumes and stunning location photography, Arabian Nights is a fierce and joyous exploration of human sexuality." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Fernando Meirelles, Mia Hansen-Løve, Roger Clarke, Tony Rayns, Hilton Lacerda.
La Bete humaine

La Bête humaine

1938 / France / 99m / BW / Crime Drama, Psychological Drama
Jean Gabin, Simone Simon, Fernand Ledoux, Julien Carette, Blanchette Brunoy, Jean Renoir, Gerard Landry, Jenny Helia, Colette Regis, Jacques Berlioz
"Between his twin Elvis years of 1937 (Grand Illusion) and 1939 (The Rules of the Game), master artiste Jean Renoir crafted this brooding, fluid adaptation of Émile Zola's doctrinaire novel, expanding the palette of pre-noir 'poetic realism' to include the hardscrabble locomotion of proletariat desperation and fashioning a national icon of working-class struggle in the process… If Fritz Lang used the same tale to tell a grim story about low-class American impulses 16 years later in Human Desire, Renoir characteristically saw to it that Zola's prejudicial class attack gave way to a sense of sympathy, bruised victimhood, and communal meaning." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Allan Sekula, Francine Stock, Martha P. Nochimson, Claire Denis, Gerardo Vera.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.


1952 / Italy-France-Morocco-USA / 90m / BW / Drama, Tragedy
Orson Welles, Michael MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote, Hilton Edwards, Fay Compton, Michael Lawrence, Nicholas Bruce, Jean Davis, Doris Dowling
"Welles' sixth feature was shot in fits and starts over a period of four years, on a dozen locations in Morocco and Italy, often without money. Naturally, Welles turned the limitations into strengths. When the costumes didn't show up, he filmed in a Turkish bath. When an actor couldn't make it, he used a stand-in and changed his camera angle. When challenged to match footage shot in Mogador and Venice, he contrived dazzling webs of montage. This is Shakespeare filmed with love and powerhouse enthusiasm, never with reverence. The visual rhetoric is synchronised with the verbal imagery: they hit sensory overload together. A very great film noir." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by George A. Romero, Ben Walters, Lamia Joreige, Amos Gitai, Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues.
Not Reconciled

Not Reconciled

Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht (original title)

1965 / West Germany / 53m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Heinrich Hargesheimer, Carlheinz Hargesheimer, Martha Staendner, Daniele Huillet, Henning Harmssen, Ulrich Hopmann, Joachim Weiler, Eva-Maria Bold, Hiltraud Wegener, Ulrich von Thuna
"Fifty years of German social and political history, from the anti-Communism of 1910 through the anti-semitism of the '30s to a political reprisal in 1960. Explored a-chronologically, in vignettes from the lives of three generations of a middle class family. Taken from Heinrich Böll's novel Billiards at Half Past Nine, but with all the mechanics of storytelling and the frosting of 'style' removed. Read the novel for the narrative; see Straub's movie for the steely precision of its ideas and images, enhanced by Brechtian acting and the absence of all redundancies. Difficult in ways that few films are, but necessarily difficult." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Thom Andersen, Chris Petit, Daisuke Akasaka, Harun Farocki, Gilberto Perez.
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My Little Loves

My Little Loves

Mes petites amoureuses (original title)

1974 / France / 123m / Col / Drama
Martin Loeb, Ingrid Caven, Jacqueline Dufranne, Jacques Romain, Vincent Testaniere, Roger Rizzi, Anne Stroka, Cirque Muller, Pierre Edelman, Maurice Pialat
"Following the success of The Mother and the Whore, Jean Eustache was finally able to make the equally personal but vastly different My Little Loves—a portrait of his childhood in the south of France in which every footstep, every gesture, and every visual detail seems drawn directly from the filmmaker’s memory. Young Martin Loeb plays Daniel, Eustache’s thirteen-year-old alter ego, and he figures in every scene of this exquisite chronicle of a “sentimental education.” Beautifully photographed by the great Nestor Almendros, My Little Loves reaches its emotional climax during an extended scene in which Daniel gets his first kiss in a movie theater showing Pandora and the Flying Dutchman." - Harvard Film Archive
Selected by Michel Gondry, Ulrich Seidl, Ira Sachs, Volker Pantenburg, José Luis Guerín.
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1972 / India / 150m / Col / Drama
Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Veena, D.K. Sapru, Kamal Kapoor, Vijay Laxmi, Jagdish Kanwal, Nadira, Pratima Devi
"This popular musical suggests that, at its best, the much-scorned commercial product of 'Hollywood-Bombay' is equally extraordinary in its own way. A byzantine story (of star-crossed lovers) that proceeds fitfully through the fabulous logic of dreams; luscious colour-scope photography, and a febrile camera craning and tracking restlessly through fairytale locations and sets; and never even a single screen kiss, but instead some of the most brazenly erotic songs and dances you'll ever see on film." - Sheila Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Richard Dyer, Kaleem Aftab, Peter Wollen, Pratibha Parmar, Alexander Horwath.
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L'Enfant Secret

L’Enfant secret

1982 / France / 92m / BW / Romance, Psychological Drama
Anne Wiazemsky, Henri de Maublanc, Xuan Lindenmeyer, Cecile Le Bailly, Elli Medeiros, Philippe Garrel, Ari Boulogne, Benoit Ferreux, Eliane Roy, Bambou
"A man communicates that he has suffered. A filmmaker claims to be testifying for his generation. An experience struggles to become a story. A frozen narrative still burns. Is it a film? If so, then L’Enfant secret bears little resemblance to what passes today as French cinema… What makes French cinema unique is unsummarisable films, works that appear to be pages torn from logbooks or intimate diaries, and a preference for black-and-white and voice-over: Un chant d’amour, Pickpocket, Le Testament d’Orphee, Le Petit Soldat, L’Enfance nue, L’Amour fou, all of Eustache and now L’Enfant secret." - Serge Daney, Rouge
Selected by Quim Casas, Stéphane Delorme, Violeta Kovacsics, Filipe Furtado, Adrian Martin.
A Tale of the Wind

A Tale of the Wind

Une Histoire de vent (original title)

1988 / France-UK-West Germany-Netherlands / 80m / Col / Culture & Society, Documentary
Joris Ivens, Henxiang Han, Guilian Liu, Zhuang Liu, Hong Wang, Hongyu Liu, Marceline Loridan Ivens
"This poetic masterpiece serves as the crowning testament of Joris Ivens, the great Dutch documentarist and leftist who made this film in collaboration with his companion Marceline Loridan shortly before his death at the age of 90. Neither a documentary nor a fantasy but a sublime fusion of the two, the film deals in multiple ways with the wind, with Ivens’s asthma, with China, with the 20th century (and, more implicitly, with the 19th and the 21st), with magic, and with the cinema… For all its cosmic dimensions, this work is funny and lighthearted rather than pretentious and ponderous. It may even give you some renewed faith in life on this planet." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Charles Burnett, Adam Hyman, Fu Hongxing, Kim Ji-Seok, Giovanni Grazzini.


1937 / USA / 91m / BW / Romantic Drama, Melodrama
Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas, Edward Everett Horton, Ernest Cossart, Laura Hope Crews, Herbert Mundin, Dennie Moore, Ivan Lebedeff, Leonard Carey
"Despite the initial financial failure, Angel survives as a wonderful reminder of Hollywood sophistication, sparkling with Lubitsch's trademark charm and the potent on-screen chemistry between Dietrich and Douglas. Marlene, adorned in an array of scintillating Travis Banton creations, never looked better, and the charming Frederick Hollander score so captivated the star that she insisted he be hired whenever possible for all her future projects." - Mel Neuhaus, TCM
Selected by Pierre Rissient, Antonio Rodrigues, Dan Sallitt, Heddy Honigmann, Shunichi Nagasaki.
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On the Town

On the Town

1949 / USA / 98m / Col / Musical, Comedy
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, Alice Pearce, Florence Bates, George Meader, Bern Hoffman
"A fine, freewheeling musical by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, based on the Betty Comden-Adolph Green book, which was in turn based on the Leonard Bernstein ballet Fancy Free. Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin are three sailors out for a day in New York; Vera-Ellen, Ann Miller, and Betty Garrett are the girls they spend it with. With no structure or pacing to speak of, it's a loopy, anything-goes movie, graced with the freshness of a Hollywood nouvelle vague. Remarkably, it was Donen and Kelly's first directorial effort " - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Linda Ruth Williams, Bruce Ricker, Erik Syngle, Dilys Powell, Cesar Santos Fontenla.
It's a Gift

It's a Gift

1934 / USA / 73m / BW / Comedy, Screwball Comedy
W.C. Fields, Kathleen Howard, Jean Rouverol, Julian Madison, Tommy Bupp, Baby LeRoy, Tammany Young, Morgan Wallace, Charles Sellon, Josephine Whittell
"W.C. Fields is a small-town grocer who inherits a fortune, buys an orange grove in California, and piles his wife and kids into their ramshackle car for a journey west. The plot isn't much more than a clothesline on which director Norman Z. McLeod hangs an assortment of the star's tried-and-true vaudeville routines, but they're solid gold… McLeod's middling reputation doesn't quite square with his track record of classic comedies—the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, Bob Hope's Road to Rio and The Paleface, Cary Grant's Topper, Danny Kaye's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty—and this 1934 feature ranks among Fields's best." - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Selected by Ian Penman, Vic Pratt, Gerald Peary, Daniel Talbot, Geoff Brown.
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New York, New York

New York, New York

1977 / USA / 164m / Col / Period Film, Musical Drama
Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander, Barry Primus, Mary Kay Place, George Auld, George Memmoli, Dick Miller, Diahnne Abbott, Selma Archerd
"Martin Scorsese’s criminally neglected tribute to the heyday of the MGM musical has aged astonishingly well. Following his ’70s hat-trick of Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Taxi Driver, it was the director’s first critical and commercial flop. But as per usual, Scorsese was ahead of his time, incorporating freeform East Coast film acting with the opulent fakery of the classic studio production, complete with giant sets, musical numbers and a cast of thousands. It’s also the movie that gave Sinatra and the big apple its signature tune, the title song astonishingly overlooked in the Best Song Oscar category." - Damon Wise, Empire
Selected by Judith Williamson, Joanna Hogg, Milan Pavlovic, Lizzie Francke, Tsui Hark.
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Gregory's Girl

Gregory's Girl

1980 / UK / 91m / Col / Comedy Drama, Coming-of-Age
John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Jake D'Arcy, Clare Grogan, Robert Buchanan, Billy Greenless, Alan Love, Caroline Guthrie, Carol Macartney, Allison Forster
"Bill Forsyth's slightly-plotted tale of an ungainly teenager's romantic yearning is arguably the warmest and most thoroughly charming British film to emerge from the dark days of the early 1980s. Though it deals, in its own wryly playful way, with the torture of adolescence, and despite the opening scene, in which Gregory and his mates spy on a nurse undressing, Gregory's Girl is strikingly innocent. No drugs or violence stalk the school playground, and the boys' toilets are the province not of bullies or smokers but of a thriving home-made confectionary business - and a rival venture selling very demure photographs of football heroine Dorothy." - Mark Duguid, BFI Screen Online
Selected by Antonia Carver, Roger Avary, Rainer Knepperges, Geoffrey Macnab, Jeffrey Westhoff.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits

Giulietta degli spiriti (original title)

1965 / Italy / 148m / Col / Comedy Drama, Marriage Drama
Giulietta Masina, Mario Pisu, Sandra Milo, Valentina Cortese, Valeska Gert, Jose-Luis de Villalonga, Friedrich von Ledebur, Caterina Boratto, Lou Gilbert, Sylva Koscina
"Federico Fellini's phantasmagoric Juliet of the Spirits was the Italian master's first color film. Fellini went deliriously and brilliantly bananas with the color to create a rollicking through-the-looking-glass series of tableaus evoking a woman's troubled psyche. These sequences are a zany, surreal jumble of Freudian, Jungian and pagan symbolism segued into a 145-minute head trip. Although the head being explored is a woman's and the movie has been described as the female counterpart of Fellini's 8 1/2, the fantasies being enacted are still Fellini's sexual obsessions but embellished with feminine frills." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Wes Craven, Mark L. Lester, Chris Berry, Danny Elfman, Hilary Brougher.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Night of the Demon

Night of the Demon

Curse of the Demon (alternative title)

1957 / UK / 82m / BW / Occult Horror, Gothic Film
Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler, Reginald Beckwith, Liam Redmond, Ewan Roberts, Peter Elliott, Rosamund Greenwood
"A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton's famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film's sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Billy Chainsaw, Mark Pilkington, Anne Billson, Pascal Bonitzer, Simon Mizrahi.
Black Girl

Black Girl

La Noire de… (original title)

1966 / Senegal-France / 65m / BW / Drama, Social Problem Film
Mbissine Therese Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine, Momar Nar Sene, Ibrahima Boy, Bernard Delbard, Nicole Donati, Raymond Lemeri, Suzanne Lemeri, Philippe
"Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by June Givanni, Allan Sekula, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Horace Ove, May Adadol Ingawanij.
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1946 / USA / 110m / BW / Film Noir, Romantic Mystery
Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia, Steven Geray, Gerald Mohr, Joseph Sawyer, Robert Scott, Ludwig Donath, Don Douglas
"Rita Hayworth’s nightclub queen is at once seductive and innocent, a mix of virgin and whore – the perfect male fantasy. Her striptease scene is erotic to the max – but all she peels off are those long black gloves. No wonder club manager Glenn Ford is obsessed, as is club owner George Macready, her arrival disrupting their borderline gay relationship. Hothouse passions were rarely steamier than in Charles Vidor’s 1946 thriller, and the close-knit triangle set-up plays itself out in classic noir style." - Philip Kemp, Total Film
Selected by Briony Hanson, Constantine Giannaris, Ivan Cardoso, Jake Wilson, Martin Casariego.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Veronika Voss

Veronika Voss

Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss (original title)

1982 / West Germany / 105m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Ann-Marie Duringer, Cornelia Froboess, Doris Schade, Erik Schumann, Peter Berling, Gunther Kaufmann, Sonja Neudorfer, Lilo Pempeit
"Once-beloved Third Reich–era starlet Veronika Voss (Zech) lives in obscurity in postwar Munich. Struggling for survival and haunted by past glories, the forgotten star encounters sportswriter Robert Krohn (Thate) in a rain-swept park and intrigues him with her mysterious beauty. As their unlikely relationship develops, Krohn comes to discover the dark secrets behind the faded actresses’ demise. Based on the true story of a World War II UFA star, Veronika Voss is wicked satire disguised as 1950s melodrama." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ira Sachs, Luca Guadagnino, Shion Sono, Ashim Ahluwalia, Geoffrey Macnab.
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Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

Hotaru no haka (original title)

1988 / Japan / 93m / Col / Anime, War Drama
Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayani Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi
"A teenage boy and his young sister struggle to survive the Allied assault on Japan in this wrenching antiwar drama, which rivals the films of Hayao Miyazaki in elevating anime to the level of fine art. After their mother dies in a firebombing, the children move in with their paternal aunt, hoping in vain that their father will return from the emperor's navy… Writer-director Isao Takahata, a frequent collaborator of Miyazaki's at Studio Ghibli, adapted a partly autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, and his handling of the tragic story is masterfully understated." - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Selected by Carlo Chatrian, Andrew Osmond, Céline Sciamma, Mark Dujsik, Jean-Max Mejean.
Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus

Orfeu Negro (original title)

1959 / Brazil-France / 103m / Col / Fantasy, Romance
Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Ademar Da Silva, Lourdes de Oliveira, Lea Garcia, Alexandro Constantino, Waldemar De Souza, Jorge Dos Santos, Aurino Cassiano, Maria Alice
"Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its eye-popping photography and ravishing, epochal soundtrack, Black Orpheus was an international cultural event, and it kicked off the bossa nova craze that set hi-fis across America spinning." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mario Van Peebles, Karl Markovics, Tibor Bíró, Jonathan Demme, Wanuri Kahiu.
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The Host

The Host

Gwoemul (original title)

2006 / South Korea-Japan / 119m / Col / Sci-Fi Horror, Monster Film
Kang-ho Song, Byeon Hie-bong, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae, Ah-sung Ko, Dal-su Oh, Jae-eung Lee, Dong-ho Lee, Je-moon Yoon, Pil-Sung Yim
"A horror thriller, a political satire, a dysfunctional family comedy, and a touching melodrama, Bong Joon-ho's The Host is also one helluva monster movie. It's the recombinant offspring of all those science-fiction pictures of the 1950s and '60s in which exposure to atomic radiation (often referred to as both 'atomic' and 'radiation') or hazardous chemicals (sometimes also radioactive) results in something very large and inhospitable… Like its magnificent beast, The Host is wild, crazy, messy, preposterous -- and all the better for it." - Jim Emerson, Roger
Selected by Thierry Méranger, Marcelo Panozzo, Marcelo Alderete, Quintín, Steven Boone.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Il Posto

Il Posto

The Job (English title); The Sound of Trumpets (alternative title)

1961 / Italy / 93m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Sandro Panseri, Loredana Detto, Tullio Kezich, Mara Revel
"When young Domenico (Panseri) ventures from the small village of Meda to Milan in search of employment, he finds himself on the bottom rung of the bureaucratic ladder in a huge, faceless company. The prospects are daunting, but Domenico finds reason for hope in the fetching Antonietta (Detto). A tender coming-of-age story and a sharp observation of dehumanizing corporate enterprise, Ermanno Olmi’s Il posto is a touching and hilarious tale of one young man’s stumbling entrance into the perils of modern adulthood." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Aaron Katz, Susan Oxtoby, Vadim Rizov, Richard Lester, Matthew Wilkinson.
Get Carter

Get Carter

1971 / UK / 112m / Col / Crime Thriller, Gangster Film
Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, John Osborne, Ian Hendry, Bryan Mosley, Geraldine Moffatt, Dorothy White, Tony Beckley, George Sewell, Rosemarie Dunham
"'This is movie modernism British-style. The occasional stylistic flourishes suggest the imported influence of the New Wave, the brief bursts of sex, violence and soundtrack funk offer a trendsetting '70s take on the gangster movie. But its prime virtue now looks like its depiction of a nation slowly made to face its own moral and physical dilapidation, hope and glory gone way down and out… Mike Hodges' debut offers a tunnel vision of this landscape. He shoots it cold, sparse and ambivalent, the terse, gnomic plotting and dialogue doubtless contributing to the allure of what might otherwise be a relatively plain genre movie." - Nick Bradshaw, Time Out
Selected by Keith Griffiths, John Baldessari, Colin MacCabe, Jonathon Oake, Bettina Thienhaus.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Du rififi chez les hommes (original title)

1955 / France / 115m / BW / Crime Thriller, Caper
Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel, Jules Dassin, Marie Sabouret, Janine Darcey, Claude Sylvain, Pierre Grasset, Robert Hossein, Magali Noel
"After making such American noir classics as The Naked City and Brute Force, blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on his masterpiece: a twisting, turning tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious heist in the City of Lights. At once naturalistic and expressionistic, this melange of suspense, brutality, and dark humor was an international hit and earned Dassin the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Akin Omotoso, Arnost Lustig, John Maclean, Ivan Passer, Gao Qunshu.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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The Wings of Eagles

The Wings of Eagles

1957 / USA / 110m / Col / Drama, Biography
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey, Ward Bond, Ken Curtis, Edmund Lowe, Kenneth Tobey, Sig Ruman, James Todd, Barry Kelley
"John Ford's unfairly overlooked 1957 film is the biography of Frank “Spig” Wead, a World War I fighter pilot who was grounded by paralysis and went on to become a Hollywood screenwriter. (He wrote Hell's Angels for Howard Hughes and Air Mail for John Ford, among others.) John Wayne plays Wead, and the character, of course, becomes him, turning the film into a brave, memorable study of a man of action who suddenly finds himself unable to act... Ford directs with complete disdain for period detail—rightly, for it doesn't matter—designing his film instead around the growing stillness of Wead's life: it begins in frenzy and ends in tranquillity." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Miguel Marias, Félix García de Villegas Rey, Jesús Cortés, Iván Aledo, Simon Mizrahi.
The Last Bolshevik

The Last Bolshevik

Le Tombeau d'Alexandre (original title)

1993 / France-Finland / 120m / Col / Essay Film, Documentary
Rhona Campbell, Vladimir Dmitriyev, Viktor Dyomin, Marina Goldovskaya, Leonor Graser, Nikolai Izvolov, Marina Kalasieva, Yuri Kolyada, Kira Paramonova, Yuli Raizman
"A George Steiner aphorism near the start of the movie states “It is not the literal past that rules us, but images of the past,” and Chris Marker goes on to refine that idea in this extraordinary 1992 documentary about the obscure Soviet director Alexander Medvedkin, who hung on to Leninist ideals as he tried to ply a stirring, skeptical art under Stalinist eyes… Marker puts voice-over narration and interviews into a jazzy, contrapuntal relation to his bold visual assemblies; his montage moves on waves of thought and feeling, mixing wild propaganda with gritty pathos." - Michael Sragow, The New Yorker
Selected by Patricio Guzmán, Howard Hampton, Radu Jude, Luciano Barisone, Sanjin Pejkovic.
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Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles

1974 / USA / 93m / Col / Parody/Spoof, Comedy Western
Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, David Huddleston, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Mel Brooks, Liam Dunn, Alex Karras, John Hillerman
"Blazing Saddles, like all great comedy, is beholden to the truth, and exposing it, and in this farcical western's sights lies everything from the genocide in America's history so often ignored by classic genre fare to the simple fact that cowboys eating beans around a campfire will eventually break glorious wind. Forty years after Mel Brooks's box-office smash struck a nerve with audiences, it remains a high-water mark for cinematic hilarity, even if time and influence have inevitably dulled some of its shock value." - Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
Selected by Nick Kroll, Daniel Walber, Ruben Fleischer, Matt Singer, Nicholas Searle.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry

1971 / USA / 102m / Col / Crime, Action Thriller
Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, Andrew Robinson, John Mitchum, John Vernon, John Larch, Mae Mercer, Lyn Edgington, Ruth Kobart
"Dirty Harry may not be Don Siegel's masterpiece—although it is a first-rate policier featuring a career-defining performance by Clint Eastwood. No less than Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it offers a fabulous, multifarious political metaphor. (And, as with Body Snatchers, Siegel's own liberal interpretation was trumped by a more forceful hard-right reading)… In its day, the movie was critically and commercially overshadowed by The French Connection, but en route to inspiring four sequels, it became a mainstream cult film." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Jan Lumholdt, Edgar Wright, Shane Black, Michel Hazanavicius, Angela Glaser.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
The Ladies Man

The Ladies Man

1961 / USA / 95m / Col / Comedy, Slapstick
Jerry Lewis, Helen Traubel, Kathleen Freeman, Pat Stanley, George Raft, Hope Holiday, Jack Kruschen, Doodles Weaver, Harry James, Marty Ingels
"Jerry Lewis' second film as director is one of his greatest, with its star almost overwhelmed by his one major set, the split-level interior of a Hollywood boarding hotel for aspiring actresses, where one Herbert Heebert, practising misogynist, has been taken on in all innocence as a houseboy. Lewis' camera performs some virtuoso movement around the rooms (Jean-Luc Godard and Julien Temple were to borrow this device), and the ultra-loose plotline allows for some hilarious sequences, and even a touch of surrealism in one entirely white interior. Highlights include Lewis breaking up a television show and dancing a tango with George Raft." - David Thompson, Time Out
Selected by Bruce LaBruce, Marcelo Panozzo, Matías Piñeiro, Mehrnaz Saeedvafa, Violeta Kovacsics.
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Fort Apache

Fort Apache

1948 / USA / 127m / BW / Western, Cavalry Film
Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendariz, Ward Bond, George O'Brien, Victor McLaglen, Anna Lee, Irene Rich, John Agar
"The first film of John Ford's “cavalry trilogy”, this marked the beginning of his greatest (and most critically obscure) period. Its dual heroes (Henry Fonda as a West Point martinet and John Wayne as a veteran horse soldier) express Ford's growing ambivalence toward the values and practice of leadership. The nonlinear narrative, with its infinite digressions and asides, is designed less to tell a story than to present a world—a world dense in physical detail and fraught with moral challenges. With Fort Apache, Ford finally withdrew from the Oscar race and entered his own individual aesthetic, isolating himself in the glories and eccentricities of a great artist." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Francisco Algarín Navarro, Piers Handling, Ruy Gardnier, Benito Zambrano, Errol Morris.
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The Age of the Earth

The Age of the Earth

A Idade da Terra (original title)

1980 / Brazil / 158m / Col / Religious Epic, Political Drama
Mauricio do Valle, Jece Valadao, Antonio Pitanga, Tarcisio Meira, Geraldo Del Rey, Ana Maria Magalhaes, Norma Bengell, Danuza Leao, Carlos Petrovicho, Mario Gusmao
"Earth is the final work by Glauber Rocha, one of the most important and controversial of all Brazilian filmmakers. It's an epic film that draws on a variety of cinematic traditions—from ethnographic documentary to experimental narrative—to consider the impact of western imperialism on indigenous Brazil. The major characters are an American imperialist named Brahms and four different Christ figures (listed in the credits as Black Christ, Indigenous Christ, Military Christ, and Guerilla Christ) who attempt to stop his destructive campaign through the Brazilian wilderness… Rocha claimed that the sequences of Earth could be screened in any order and have the same effect." - Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
Selected by Michael Glawogger, Manuel Asín, John Gianvito, Amos Gitai, Vinícius Reis.
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The Intruder

The Intruder

L'Intrus (original title)

2004 / France-Korea / 130m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin, Yekaterina Golubeva, Bambou, Florence Loiret, Lolita Chammah, Alex Descas, Dong-ho Kim, Se-tak Chang, Hong-suk Park
"Claire Denis's magnificent enigma of a film, The Intruder, explores the troubled soul of Louis Trebor (Subor), a brooding loner with a heart condition who lives with two large white dogs in a forest near the French-Swiss border… Ms. Denis, a fearless aesthetic adventurer who lived in Africa until she was 14, has always been fascinated by stories and images of cultural imposition, exile, alienation and the contemplation of the Other… Working with her brilliant cinematographer Agnès Godard, she spills onto the screen images of man and nature with an attunement to light, shadow, color, texture and mood that approaches the surreal." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Tim Wong, Dana Linssen, Daniel Frampton, Michael Omasta, Dominik Graf.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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1999 / UK-USA / 160m / Col / Comedy Drama, Musical Drama
Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Timothy Spall, Wendy Nottingham, Lesley Manville, Ron Cook, Kevin McKidd, Shirley Henderson, Dorothy Atkinson, Martin Savage
"The world of Gilbert and Sullivan comes to vivid life in director Mike Leigh’s extraordinary dramatization of the staging of the duo’s legendary 1885 comic opera The Mikado. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner brilliantly inhabit the roles of the world-famous Victorian librettist and composer… A lushly produced epic about the harsh realities of creative expression, featuring bravura performances and Oscar-winning costume design and makeup, Topsy-Turvy is an unexpected period delight from one of contemporary cinema’s great artists." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michal Oleszczyk, Luke McKernan, Christopher Fowler, Peter Wollen, Ken Mogg.
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We All Loved Each Other So Much

We All Loved Each Other So Much

C'eravamo tanto amati (original title)

1974 / Italy / 124m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romantic Drama
Nino Manfredi, Vittorio Gassman, Stefania Sandrelli, Stefano Satta Flores, Giovanna Ralli, Aldo Fabrizi, Mike Bongiorno, Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Nello Meniconi
"We All Loved Each Other So Much is a true gem of a comedy. Ettore Scola has written and directed a film that examines the passage of time and how it affects a trio of men and the woman with whom they intersect. It is very definitely a comedy, often a laugh-out-loud comedy, but also one that is as concerned with emotional impact as it is with setting up the next gag… Scola is blessed with a quartet of lovely performances, none more so than Vittorio Gassman's, as well as a scene stealing turn from Aldo Fabrizi." - Craig Butler, Allmovie
Selected by Edward Zwick, Juan José Campanella, Giovanni Veronesi, Jan-Olov Andersson, Gael Garcia Bernal.


1981 / UK / 140m / Col / Sword-and-Sorcery, Mythological Fantasy
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson, Robert Addie, Gabriel Byrne, Keith Buckley, Katrine Boorman
"The myth and legend of King Arthur has long been a favorite fascination of popular culture… John Boorman’s magnificent and magical Excalibur is, to my mind, the greatest and the richest of screen incarnation of the oft-told tale. Filmed on the rocky coasts and in the emerald forests of Ireland, Boorman turns this landscape into a primal world hewn out of stone and wood and mud by blood and iron… It’s also a magnificent blood and thunder tale of men with swords torn between the primal drives of power and lust and the idealism brought to the land by Arthur, the benevolent king who encourages his knights to go forth in acts of heroism and chivalry." - Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
Selected by Trey Parker, Zack Snyder, Sek Kei, Jon Wright, Christian McCrea.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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Odd Man Out

Odd Man Out

1947 / UK / 115m / BW / Drama, Crime
James Mason, Robert Newton, Robert Beatty, Kathleen Ryan, William Hartnell, Cyril Cusack, F.J. McCormick, Fay Compton, Beryl Measor, Dan O'Herlihy
"A wounded Irish revolutionary (James Mason at his near best) on the run in Belfast encounters a cross section of human responses—self-interest, indifference, empathy, and charity—in this arty English thriller directed by Carol Reed and adapted by F.L. Green and R.C. Sherriff from Green's novel. This may be Reed's most pretentious film, but it also happens to be one of his very best, beautifully capturing the poetry of a city at night (with black-and-white cinematography by Robert Krasker that's within hailing distance of Gregg Toland and Stanley Cortez's work with Orson Welles)." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Bruce Beresford, Lewis Gilbert, Roman Polanski, Yasuo Furuhata.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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The Sweet Hereafter

The Sweet Hereafter

1997 / Canada / 112m / Col / Drama, Ensemble Film
Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Bruce Greenwood, Tom McCamus, Arsinee Khanjian, Alberta Watson, Maury Chaykin, Gabrielle Rose, Peter Donaldson, David Hemblen
"A school bus skids off an icy road and sinks into a frozen lake, taking with it the children of a tiny, once neighborly Adirondack town. Presented midway through this latest, biggest and most wrenching film by the brilliantly analytical Atom Egoyan, this image becomes the basis for a many-faceted moral inquiry… Making this material very much his own, the filmmaker creates schematic, intuitive images that hauntingly crystallize the characters' situations… For all the suffering it describes, this eloquent film also carries the exhilaration of crystal-clear artistic vision." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Bálint Szalóky, Amy Berg, M.K. Raghavendra, Tero Vainio, William Brown.
Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

Mononoke-hime (original title)

1997 / Japan / 134m / Col / Anime, Fantasy Adventure
Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yuko Tanaka, Kaoru Kobayashi, Masahiko Nishimura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Sumi Shimamoto, Tetsu Watanabe, Mitsuru Sato, Akira Nagoya
"While watching Princess Mononoke, a landmark feat of Japanese animation from the acknowledged master of the genre, it's very easy to understand the film's phenomenal popularity. Outdone only by Titanic as Japan's box-office champ, this intricate, epic fable is amazing to behold. No wonder the filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, is acknowledged as an inspiration among his American counterparts who have reinvented animated storytelling in the post-Little Mermaid era." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Carolina López Caballero, Diego Batlle, Sean Cubitt, Kjetil Lismoen, Jonathan Lack.
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Dust in the Wind

Dust in the Wind

Lian lian feng chen (original title)

1987 / Taiwan / 109m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Tianlu Li, Shufen Xin, Shufang Chen, Lawrence Ko, Yang Lin, Fang Mei, Chien-wen Wang, Bi-yuan Yan, Lai-Yin Yang
"It follows two young lovers who move to the city (Taipei) to find work because they can’t afford to finish high school, and slowly but irrevocably their relationship is torn asunder. Hou’s feeling for the textures of everyday life, caught mainly in long takes and intricately framed deep-focus compositions, gives this unhurried but deeply affecting drama a deceptively subterranean impact that gradually rises to the surface. The very natural and, for the most part, underplayed performances by nonprofessionals are especially impressive." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Hirokazu Koreeda, Bong Joon-ho, Ik-June Yang, Michael Berry, Sakura Yang.
Mother India

Mother India

Bharat Mata (alternative Indian title)

1957 / India / 172m / Col / Epic, Melodrama
Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Kainhaiyalal, Jilloo Maa, Kumkum, Chanchal, Sheela Naik, Mukri
"Inspired by a Pearl S. Buck paean to the heroic Chinese peasantry, writer-director-producer Mehboob Khan transposed Buck's tale of suffering motherhood to a rural India enlivened by indigenous versions of Soviet-style tractor-opera, Italian neo-realism, Hollywood kiddie-cuteness, a dozen Technicolor musical numbers, and, most significantly, a metaphoric overlay of pop Hinduism… Mother India is played at a high emotional pitch that is rendered all the more forceful by Mehboob's taste for iconic, unmatched inserts, and builds to a climax of maternal sacrifice that trumps all surviving examples of Greek tragedy." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Shyam Benegal, Kevin B. Lee, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Gurinder Chadha.
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Knife in the Water

Knife in the Water

Nóz w wodzie (original title)

1962 / Poland / 94m / BW / Psychological Drama, Marriage Drama
Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
"Roman Polanski’s first feature is a brilliant psychological thriller that many critics still consider among his greatest work. The story is simple, yet the implications of its characters’ emotions and actions are profound. When a young hitchhiker joins a couple on a weekend yacht trip, psychological warfare breaks out as the two men compete for the woman’s attention. A storm forces the small crew below deck, and tension builds to a violent climax. With stinging dialogue and a mercilessly probing camera, Polanski creates a disturbing study of fear, humiliation, sexuality, and aggression." – The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andris Feldmanis, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Tina Bastajian, Alfredo de Villa, Mrinal Sen.
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1966 / UK / 111m / BW / Comedy Thriller, Black Comedy
Donald Pleasence, Francoise Dorleac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Robert Dorning, Jacqueline Bisset, Geoffrey Sumner, Renee Houston, William Franklyn
"Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director’s golden 1960s period. Donald Pleasence and Françoise Dorléac star as a withdrawn couple whose isolated house is invaded by a rude, burly American gangster on the run, played by Lionel Stander. The three engage in role-playing games of sexual and emotional humiliation. Cul-de-sac is an evocative, claustrophobic, and morbidly funny tale of the modern world in chaos." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Abel Ferrara, Ray Lawrence, Ian Francis, Pawel Pawlikowski, Paul Buck.
American Graffiti

American Graffiti

1973 / USA / 110m / Col / Comedy Drama, Teen Movie
Richard Dreyfuss, Candy Clark, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Mackenzie Phillips, Wolfman Jack, Bo Hopkins
"Because it's been imitated so often, it's almost impossible to see what an innovative film Graffiti is, from its near-constant rock 'n' roll soundtrack to the closing-credits summation of each protagonist's fate. It's more important, however, to see it as the great film it is, a funny, touching, nearly cliché-free, and thoroughly considered evocation of a time, place, and state of mind. Released just 11 years after the events it depicts (it usually takes about 20 years for nostalgia to set in), the film both captures the enormous societal changes between the early '60s and early '70s and winningly dramatizes the lives of its characters." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Milos Forman, David Pirie, Kerry Prior, David Fincher, Ryuichi Hiroki.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
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2004 / Hong Kong-China-France-Italy-Germany / 129m / Col-BW / Romance, Science Fiction
Tony Leung, Gong Li, Takuya Kimura, Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Chen Chang, Wang Sum, Ping Lam Siu, Maggie Cheung
"Very few films look this dreamy. Very few sound this romantic (the eclectic soundtrack features Francois Truffaut's main composer, Georges Delerue, as well as Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and a haunting theme by Shigeru Umebayashi). Fewer still move this way. In short, very few films are Wong Kar- wai films, a phrase that in the future will carry the same weight as an Antonioni film or a Godard film. In 2046, lovelorn loneliness has never been this mouth-watering." - G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Gillies MacKinnon, Peter Körte, César Ballester, Joshua Clover, Ho Wen-long.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club

1985 / USA / 97m / Col / Comedy Drama, Teen Movie
Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Perry Crawford, Mary Christian, Ron Dean
"For the late John Hughes, this was perhaps the definitive statement of ‘80s Midwestern teen angst. It is often cited as his most beloved, most insightful, and most iconic work. Sure, some of the characterization is as pat as the actors hired to realize it (Really? Molly Ringwald AND Anthony Michael Hall again???) and there is some unrealistic wish fulfillment in an afternoon rap session that somehow renders all school social cliques irrelevant. But in the end, this is one Club that has continued to endure… Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the film is that, some 25 years after its initial release, it still feels contemporary and up to date." - Bill Gibron, PopMatters
Selected by Sanam Hasan, Will Brooker, Toni Junyent, Chris Butler & Sam Fell, Joshua Leonard.
Henry V

Henry V

1944 / UK / 137m / Col / Historical Film, Historical Epic
Laurence Olivier, Renee Asherson, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Esmond Knight, George Robey, Leo Genn, Felix Aylmer, Max Adrian, Ralph Truman
"Bringing an actor-manager's chutzpah to a movie he starred in, produced, directed and virtually created with his bare hands, Laurence Olivier created a bold, clear reading of Shakespeare's play and an exhilarating piece of wartime propaganda. He begins with a realistic account of a performance at the Globe, complete with jeers from the groundlings, and then leads you step-by-step into Henry's real, or hyperreal world." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Nicolas Barbano, David Roland, John Francis Lane, Claude Baigneres, Albert Johnson.
The Last Emperor

The Last Emperor

1987 / China-Italy-UK-France / 160m / Col / Historical Film, Biography
John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Maggie Han, Ric Young, Vivian Wu
“The power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable—the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Ching dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Yojiro Takita, Ik-June Yang, Ringo Lam, Steven Seagal, Samuel Fuller.
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American Beauty

American Beauty

1999 / USA / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Family Drama
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney, Scott Bakula, Sam Robards
"American Beauty is a triumph of acting, writing and directing that defies glib description. Is the film farce, tragedy, thriller, fantasy, sitcom, skin flick or moral fable? Yes to all of the above… It's the life behind things that American Beauty catches as Mendes whips the audience around from humor to horror to something poetic and humane. The result is the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Farai Sevenzo, Jean-Marc Vallée, Leste Chen, Peter O'Fallon, Paul Hood.
Street Angel

Street Angel

Malu tianshi (original title)

1937 / China / 91m / BW / Drama, Comedy
Dan Zhao, Heiling Wei, Xuan Zhou, Jiting Wang, Zhicheng Feng, Yiting Chen, Qianli Qian, Chaofu Tang, Jun Shen, Yuanyuan Qiu
"Rightly regarded as one of the masterpieces of China’s “Golden Age” of cinema, writer-director Yuan Muzhi’s Malu tianshi is exuberant and trenchant. In 1935, war with Japan has driven the Xiao sisters, Yun and Hong, from Northeast China to Shanghai, where they are impressed into a cathouse; Yun thus becomes a prostitute, while her younger sister becomes a chanteuse… It is remarkable that a narrative launched by Japanese invasion—a stunning montage of war punctuates Hong’s opening song—turns its critical eye inward, addressing patriarchal Chinese society, poverty and class, especially regarding the exploitation of women." - Dennis Grunes
Selected by Jia Zhangke, You Zhengwei, Chan Ka-ming, Keeto Lam, Tony Rayns.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
The Hart of London

The Hart of London

1970 / Canada / 80m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental
"Jack Chambers's 80-minute The Hart of London is a sprawling, ambitious film that combines newsreel footage of disasters, urban and nature imagery, and footage evoking the cycles of life and death. It is one of those rare films that succeeds precisely because of its sprawl; raw and open-ended almost to the point of anticipating the postmodern rejection of "master narratives," it cannot be reduced to a simple summary, and changes on you from one viewing to the next." - Fred Camper
Selected by Félix García de Villegas Rey, Marcos Ortega, Mark Webber, Philip S. Solomon, Brian Frye.
Abraham's Valley

Abraham's Valley

Vale Abraão (original title); Abraham Valley (alternative title)

1993 / Portugal-France-Switzerland / 187m / Col / Psychological Drama
Leonor Silveira, Cecile Sanz de Alba, Luis Miguel Cintra, Ruy de Carvalho, Luis Lima Barreto, Micheline Larpin, Diego Doria, Jose Pinto, Filipe Cochofel, Joao Perry
"This Portuguese adaptation of Madame Bovary - or rather a poetic meditation on the novel by Augustina Bessa-Luis - is encased in a hypnotic atmosphere, both melancholic and tranquil…Subtle, elegant, enigmatic, this movie by the veteran Oliveira exercises a powerful grip. Oliveira's style is hard to categorise (the director began making films in 1931): the timelessness of the modern-day setting, where the Lotuses and Maseratis seem so incongruous, is reminiscent of Resnais, but the languorous acting echoes the satiric irony of late Buñuel and the secretive minimalism of Bresson." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Jean Narboni, Haden Guest, Jaime N. Christley, John Malkovich, Frédéric Maire.
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Hotel Terminus

Hôtel Terminus

Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (English title)

1987 / USA / 267m / Col / History, Documentary
Klaus Barbie, Claude Lanzmann, Jeanne Moreau, Marcel Ophüls
"Marcel Ophuls’s fascinating portrait of the Nazi “Butcher of Lyons,” who later went onto work for the U.S. Counterintelligence Corps and pursue a career as a drug and information trafficker in Bolivia, is a worthy successor to Ophuls’s earlier The Sorrow and the Pity. While the format is basically talking-heads interviews with acquaintances and victims of Barbie (as well as other specialists), arranged in order to give a lucid chronological account of his career, Ophuls manages to treat his subject with a great deal of intelligence and irony… This isn’t a work of art in the sense that Shoah is, but it is investigative journalism at its best, solid and penetrating. " - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Nick James, Radu Jude, Heather Hendershot, James Toback, Pier Marton.


Sicily! (English title)

1999 / Italy-France-Germany / 66m / BW / Family Drama, Political Drama
Gianni Buscarino, Vittorio Vigneri, Angela Nugara, Carmelo Maddio, Ignazio Trombello, Simone Nucatola, Giovanni Interlandi, Giuseppe Bonta, Mario Baschieri, Angela Durantini
"Veteran experimentalists Straub and Huillet offer a compact adaptation of Conversation in Sicily, Elio Vittorini's anti-fascist novel of 1939 which was banned outright by the Italian authorities in 1942… Shot in high contrast b/w, which somehow only emphasises the luminescence of the Sicilian sunshine, it takes the form of static images and exchanges of dialogue… The starkness of the project may alienate many viewers, but there's no doubting the film-makers' committed investment in their subject matter." - Trevor Johnston, Time Out
Selected by Ian Penman, Kieron Corless, Manuel J. Lombardo, Eloísa Solaas, José Luis Torres Leiva.
La Cienaga

La Ciénaga

The Swamp (English title)

2001 / Argentina-France-Spain / 103m / Col / Drama
Mercedes Moran, Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian, Leonora Balcarce, Sylvia Bayle, Sofia Bertolotto, Juan Cruz Bordeu, Noelia Bravo Herrera, Maria Micol Ellero, Andrea Lopez
"Notwithstanding the sweltering Argentinean heat and a herd of noisy children, teenagers, and half-wild dogs, Lucrecia Martel's La Ciénaga is a veritable Chekhov tragicomedy of provincial life. Making a brilliant debut, Martel constructs her narrative from quotidian incidents, myriad comings and goings, and a cacophony of voices competing for attention… Martel dispenses with the niceties of exposition, throwing us into this morass of frustration and anger, and leaving us, like the characters, to figure out on our own who's doing what to whom and who's to be trusted or not. The characters may not always be clearly delineated, but the ambience is detailed and rich." - Amy Taubin, The Village Voice
Selected by Pawel Pawlikowski, Esin Kucuktepepinar, Pablo Stoll, Monika Wagenberg, Paula Félix-Didier.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever

1977 / USA / 119m / Col / Dance Film, Musical Drama
John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape, Donna Pescow, Julie Bovasso, Bruce Ornstein, Martin Shakar, Sam Coppola
"The image of John Travolta in a white disco suit has so saturated popular culture that uninitiated filmgoers tend to think of Saturday Night Fever as a goofy, dated disco cash-in. But those who've seen the film know it as a rich slice of Italian-American life in Brooklyn, topped with post-Scorsese '70s grit and filled with a surprising amount of ugliness… What saves Saturday Night Fever from being unrelentingly bleak (even for the cinema of the '70s, when homely faces and desperate lives weren't necessarily box-office poison) is Travolta's appealing balance of softness and sharpness, and the sheer physicality of the disco dancing." - Noel Murray, A.V. Club
Selected by Chris Columbus, Josh Safdie, Bennett Miller, Todd Gilchrist, Robert Siegel.